Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Cosmin Tudor from McDonald's to give some advice for people considering this job:


Cosmin Tudor

Restaurant Manager


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  Cosmin Tudor
You would need to to be patient, have perseverance and have good people skills.

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Vehicle Body Repairer
In Summary header image

Vehicle Body Repairer

A Vehicle body repairer, repairs damage to the bodywork of cars, trucks and coaches, ranging from scratches, dents and rust to major accident damage. This may involve hammering out dents or filling with body solder or plastic fillers.

Vehicle body repairers are employed in the motor industry in garages with vehicle repair facilities and in ‘specialised’ repair shops. The vehicle body repairer requires a comprehensive knowledge of vehicle body construction and the work involves assessment of damage and preparation of estimates, body panel repair and replacement, body alignment, spray painting and customised alterations.

Computerised and electronically-controlled systems are an important aspect of a vehicle body repairer’s job.

Vehicle body repairers require many skills including:
  • Working with a variety of specialised hand and power tools
  • Fabrication of part panels and shaping sheet metal on a workbench themselves before welding it into place
  • Application of primers such as etch primer, filler primer and surface primers
  • Spray painting and preparing new or repaired panels as per manufacturer’s instructions
  • Paint finishing and polishing as per manufacturer’s instructions
Note: Experience has shown that higher grades of entry than those suggested by SOLAS are preferred for certain apprenticeships, due to the technical nature of the trade. 

Employers typically seek applicants who have completed Leaving Cert including Maths (with at least a grade O5 (grade C3 pre-2017) in Ordinary Level Maths) and preferably Physics.

Training header image

Phase 1: With Employer

  • Induction Training
  • Introduction to Health & Safety
  • Introduction to Tools & Equipment
  • Introduction to Basic Skills
Phase 2: Delivered in Training Centre (20 week)
Course Content:
  • Induction
  • Welding/Fabrication
  • Panel Repairs (Bench)
  • Basic Vehicle Alignment
  • Mechanical
  • Spray Painting
  • Damage Assessment, Crash Repairs, Valeting
  • Related Theory
Phase 3: With Employer
Work Based Training and Assessments

Phase 4: Delivered in Educational Colleges (10 weeks)
Course Content:
  • Welding/Panel Repairs
  • Engine Management Systems
  • Automobile Electricity/Electronics
  • Chassis Alignment & Repair
  • Spray Painting
  • Related Theory
Phase 5: With Employer
Work Based Training and Assessments

Phase 6: Delivered in Educational Colleges (10 weeks)
Course Content:
  • Mechanical
  • Major Structural Repairs
  • Aluminium Vehicles Bodies
  • Replacement of Major Structural Units
  • Steel Welding
  • Spray Painting
  • Related Theory
Phase 7: With Employer
Work Based Training and Assessments

The overall duration of this apprenticeship is a minimum of 4 years provided all phases are successfully completed.
On successful completion of the programme the learner is awarded a Level 6 Advanced Certificate Craft – Vehicle Body Repairs.

Personal Qualities header image

As a Vehicle Body Repairer you will need to be physically active and to be able to work with your hands.

An awareness of health and safety and good housekeeping is essential as well as attention to detail.

The Vehicle Body Repairer must have the ability to:

  • Plan and organise
  • Communicate effectively
  • Solve problems
  • Work independently and as part of a team
  • Show a positive attitude
  • Recognise the need for good customer relations
  • Demonstrate good work practices including time keeping, tidiness, responsibility, quality awareness and safety awareness
If you suffer from an allergy or skin complaint, the chemicals that you use may affect you. 

Note: A person wishing to become an apprentice Vehicle Body Repairer must pass a colour–vision test approved by SOLAS.

Work Activities header image

  • Learning and developing new practical craft-related skills, knowledge and competence
  • Working with and learning from experienced craftspersons
  • Seeing a job through from start to finish
  • Comply with Health and Safety requirements
  • Working with vehicles
  • Operating equipment
  • Being accurate with numbers in counting, measuring and arithmetic
  • Working with technical drawings and diagrams
  • Using hand skills to shape metal
  • Using tools or machinery to fabricate components
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Being well organised and careful with practical tasks
  • Lifting or carrying heavy items
  • Taking responsibility for own learning, including the allocation of study time
  • Working in a noisy environment
  • Being physically active
  • Passing all your phase exams (theory, practicals, skills demonstration)
  • Earning as you learn

Pay & Fees header image

Funding Arrangements

All apprentices are paid a Training Allowance while attending off-the-job training in training centres or college, and an Apprentice Rate of pay during the on-the-job phases of their apprenticeship.

Details of the Training Allowances payable are available here.

What apprentice rate wages are paid?

Apprentice rates are paid for the on-the-job phases of apprenticeships. The actual rates paid may vary depending on the occupation and employer. Generally, the rates will increase in a number of steps during the apprenticeship. For example:


All other Trades




€ / hr

€ / hr

1st Year Rate

2nd Year Rate

3rd Year Rate

4th Year Rate









Note: You should always seek details of specific rates of pay for apprentices from prospective employers.

Apprentice Student Contribution

The Annual Student Contribution is levied on students attending Higher Education Institutions including Institutes of Technology. As part of the changes included in Budget 2014, apprentices now pay the same contribution as full time students, but their contribution is based on the time they spend in the Institute or College.

The Student Contribution is payable to the IoT /College on the date of registration for the training phase. You should consult the relevant IoT/College for details of payment options.

Note: Apprentices are required to pay an examination fee to the IoT or College for repeat exams. 

Female Apprentices' bursary for employers

To promote the entry of women into the designated apprenticeships, a bursary is available to employers to encourage an increased level of recruitment of female apprentices.

For more information Click here or contact your local ETB Training Centre.

Entry Requirements header image

The minimum age at which the employment of an apprentice may commence is 16 years of age. 
The minimum educational requirements are: 
1. Grade D in five subjects in the Department of Education & Skills Junior Certificate Examination or an approved equivalent,
2. The successful completion of an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course 
3. Three years’ work experience gained over sixteen years of age in a relevant designated industrial activity as SOLAS shall deem acceptable 

Note: These are the current approved minimum educational requirements for apprenticeship programmes, however, previous experience of the following subjects would be an advantage but not essential:

  • Technical Drawing/Graphics
  • Metalwork
  • Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
Note: Experience has shown that higher grades of entry than those suggested by SOLAS are preferred for certain apprenticeships, due to the technical nature of the trade.

Employers typically seek applicants who have completed Leaving Cert including Maths (with at least a grade O5 (grade C3 pre-2017) in Ordinary Level Maths) and preferably Physics.

Getting an Apprenticeship header image

You must obtain employment as an apprentice in your chosen occupation.

  • The employer must be approved to train apprentices.
  • The employer must register you as an apprentice within two weeks of recruitment.
Note: Vehicle Body Repairer applicants are required to pass a colour vision test approved by SOLAS.

Career Opportunities header image

On successful completion of the apprenticeship programme, apprentices are qualified to work within the recognised trade or profession. 

Where apprentices and craftspersons have the necessary ability, initiative and basic qualifications, opportunities are available for advancement. These include advanced technology courses and management courses which are available in Institutes of Technology, Schools of Management and Professional Institutes.

Many craftspersons use their apprenticeship qualification as a platform to launch careers such as engineers, managers, owners of businesses, teachers and instructors amongst others.

Occupation Profile header image

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Progression Routes header image

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Industry Expert(s)